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LOVE’S LABOUR’S FOUND: Photographer Anne Deniau had done a few jobs for Givenchy when Lee Alexander McQueen was appointed creative director of the fashion house in 1997. The chief executive officer at the time asked her to follow him around with her camera for two weeks as he prepared his first Givenchy haute couture collection. She took on the job and a connection was made that lasted 13 years and resulted in 30,000 photographs. About 400 appear for the first time in “Love Looks Not With the Eyes,” which will be released today by Abrams in English and Knesebeck Verlag in German. The title stems from the Shakespearean quote McQueen had tattooed on his arm, which continues “but with the mind.”
Deniau also shot in his ateliers but primarily backstage prior to his fashion shows. Yet “I was never a backstage photographer,” she remarked at the book’s German launch Thursday at Andreas Murkudis in Berlin. “I wanted to capture the spirit and essence of his work. When he didn’t get the response he might have expected, I tried to do the most poetic images possible.”
Deniau said she wanted to “celebrate Lee, to show the positive side which was denied after his death. All focused on the dark side, but he was very vibrant, spreading light. Images of him laughing, that was him,” she declared, as were images of him in deep concentration, seemingly oblivious to all.
In her view, McQueen was “an artist who fell into fashion, and he coped with it as well as he could.” On a personal level, he was like a brother to her. Asked if he’d changed over the years, she quickly replied no. “He didn’t change, and the team didn’t change. What changed was the world around him.”